Crowning the rodents

CrownBio strikes deals with Charles River for rats and JAX for mice

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SAN DIEGO—Global drug discovery and development services company Crown Bioscience Inc. has been busy on the animal front lately when it comes to rodent models, with two deals in the first half of March with big-name life-sciences labs—Wilmington, Mass.-based Charles River Laboratories and Bar Harbor, Maine-based The Jackson Laboratory (JAX).
With Charles River’s Research Models and Services business, CrownBio has entered into an agreement to expand access to the ZDSD (Zucker Diabetic Sprague-Dawley) rat model, with an eye toward enabling greater global model availability for drug discovery in obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
The agreement provides Charles River, a global leader in research model distribution, an exclusive license to breed and distribute the ZDSD model. The agreement also guarantees CrownBio a premium quality and prioritized supply of ZDSD models to support their global service platforms. Charles River’s commercial distribution of the model is expected to begin by mid-summer 2019.
The ZDSD rat is a highly translatable rodent model of metabolic syndrome, obesity, dyslipidemia and diabetes, with complications such as cardiac dysfunction, proteinuria and impaired wound healing. It has a polygenic background and intact leptin pathway. Unlike some other rat models of metabolic disease, the ZDSD rat does not rely on monogenic leptin or leptin receptor mutations for development of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and CrownBio says it more closely mimics human disease development.
Proprietary to CrownBio, the ZDSD rat was developed by crossing the ZDF rat (Lean +/+) with the CD (SD) rat and selectively inbred for obesity and diabetes traits for more than 35 generations. It has also been characterized as a novel model of diabetic nephropathy.
“The ZDSD rat has proven to be a leading translational model for obesity, diabetes and metabolic disease with complications. I am confident that this exciting agreement with Charles River will extend the reach of this model,” said Dr. Jim Wang, senior vice president of CrownBio’s Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease division.
In the same general therapeutic area, the exclusive agreement with JAX aims to utilize its world-class distribution channels to make the FATZO mouse model [editor's note: subsequent to the publishing of this story, the model was rennamed to: MS-Nash) available to researchers globally. As CrownBio’s exclusive distributor of the FATZO model, JAX—an independent, nonprofit biomedical research organization—will utilize its expertise in the breeding, production and delivery of high-quality mouse models to increase worldwide access with immediate effect. As part of the agreement, JAX will provide a prioritized model supply to support CrownBio’s global service platform in obesity, diabetes and associated indications.
A unique and proprietary model to CrownBio, the FATZO model, is a translationally relevant, inbred polygenic mouse model said to be  ideal for the study of obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, as well as for drug development in those areas. The model is sensitive to developing obesity and metabolic syndrome under the influence of a high-fat diet, which has been demonstrated to be a significant factor in the human development of these conditions. The model also exhibits human-like disease progression, making it an ideal candidate for modeling human metabolic syndrome.
“I am excited that our ongoing relationship with The Jackson Laboratory has resulted in this agreement and will enable easier access to FATZO, thereby accelerating discovery in obesity, diabetes and NAFLD/NASH,” said Wang.

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